Margherita Pizza

Pizza always makes a bad day feel better, and there’s nothing nicer than a perfect slice of margherita pizza. Now you can make this recipe at home…

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margherita pizza recipe

Pizza always makes a bad day feel better, and there’s nothing nicer than a perfect slice of margherita pizza. Now you can make this recipe at home any time the craving strikes!

Pizza margherita, as the Italians call it, is a simple pizza hailing from Naples. When done right, margherita pizza features a bubbly crust, crushed San Marzano tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt. That is all.

margherita pizza ingredients

Sure, you could add some tomato if you’d like, but only if the tomato is truly ripe, red and worthy. Authentic Neapolitan pizza margherita doesn’t require fresh tomato. Try making this pizza as written, and you won’t miss the tomato on top. Sometimes less is more.

This pizza is simple, fresh and a guaranteed crowd pleaser. It’s a delight to make and even better to eat. How about pizza tonight?

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Simple Blueberry Cake

This blueberry cake is my official summertime dessert. I hope it becomes yours, too. It’s tender, fully loaded with blueberries, and simple to make—no mixer required. It’s…

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blueberry cake recipe

This blueberry cake is my official summertime dessert. I hope it becomes yours, too. It’s tender, fully loaded with blueberries, and simple to make—no mixer required. It’s a dream!

This blueberry cake recipe is naturally sweetened with maple syrup, which makes it extra delicious. Thanks to the blueberries and maple syrup, it’s nicely sweet but not over the top. Some cakes are so sweet that they give me a stomachache, but this one is just right.

blueberry cake ingredients

This cake will absolutely be a hit at your Fourth of July festivities. Serve it as a “snacking cake” or make it celebration-worthy with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. I’ve even enjoyed a slice with yogurt for breakfast.

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Esquites (Mexican Street Corn Salad)

Are you familiar with esquites? Also known as elote en vaso, esquites are an experience you’ll remember. Esquites are Mexican street corn (elote) cut off the cob,…

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esquites recipe

Are you familiar with esquites? Also known as elote en vaso, esquites are an experience you’ll remember. Esquites are Mexican street corn (elote) cut off the cob, served in salad form.

Esquites are creamy, tangy, spicy, sweet and savory all at once. In other words, they’re completely irresistible. This elote recipe was the best recipe to come off our grill last summer, and I’m excited to share this stovetop variation with you.

how to make esquites

Esquites share the same ingredients with elote: fresh corn, mayonnaise, cilantro, chili powder, lime and crumbled Cotija cheese. The combination is sublime, and this variation is much easier to eat. I’ve enjoyed both options in Mexico City and love making them at home. I’m going to cook this simple salad all summer and through the rest of the year.

Esquites have one strong cooking advantage over elote—you can start with frozen corn kernels, which really cuts down on preparation time! We’ll just cook the frozen corn in a hot skillet until it’s seared and delicious. If you’re using frozen corn, you can prepare this dish in about twenty minutes, from start to finish.

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Caprese Sandwich

Picnic season is here! There’s never been a better time to picnic. We’ve enjoyed a lovely extended spring here in Kansas City. Our homegrown tomatoes won’t be…

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vegetarian baguette sandwich recipe

Picnic season is here! There’s never been a better time to picnic. We’ve enjoyed a lovely extended spring here in Kansas City. Our homegrown tomatoes won’t be ready for a while, but I wanted to share my favorite picnic sandwich with you since I’m able to find great tomatoes at the store now.

This Caprese sandwich recipe is inspired by the classic Caprese salad. It features ripe red tomatoes and sliced fresh mozzarella with the most irresistible creamy basil sauce. For extra flavor, I also added a little drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a small handful of arugula.

Caprese sandwich ingredients

Sandwich all of that inside a crusty loaf of French baguette, and you will have a perfectly portable sandwich for picnics or road trips. Or, enjoy it at home for a quick meal from now through the end of tomato season this fall.

Just remember—the better the bread and the tomatoes, the better the sandwich!

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How to Make a Cheese Board

Confession: I brought a sad cheese plate to last year’s Friendsgiving, and it went ignored in the corner. It was an embarrassing moment for a cookbook author,…

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cheese board recipe

Confession: I brought a sad cheese plate to last year’s Friendsgiving, and it went ignored in the corner. It was an embarrassing moment for a cookbook author, and I’ve been determined to improve my cheese board game ever since.

I walked into the party to find a gorgeous and elaborate cheese board nearly spanning the full length of the dinner table. My friend Jordan has a degree in sculpture, and she can sure put together a beautiful cheese board.

I took the opportunity to study her design. I can’t say that my efforts are quite to her level yet, but I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks to share with you today.

cheese and crackers

Building a beautiful cheese board feels like a fun art project. We’ll mix different flavors, colors, shapes and textures to build an enticing appetizer board. Give yourself some time to put it together, and you’ll enjoy the process all the more. The trick is to fill every little space on the board with nuts and fruit so it looks completely abundant.

A cheese board is the perfect excuse to break out your special serving items. If you don’t have a dedicated cheese board in your cabinets, though, don’t fret. For your base, you can use a nice wooden cutting board, a large serving platter, or even a tray or baking sheet covered with parchment paper. If you don’t have a set of cheese knives, offer butter knives, cocktail forks, cocktail picks or toothpicks.

Basically, anything goes, and no occasion is too minor for a cheese board. You just might have everything you need at home already. How about a cheese board with your French 75 this evening?

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Classic Mojito

Finally! I’ve figured out how to make the perfect homemade mojito. Mojitos are bubbly rum cocktails that taste minty-fresh, citrusy and a little sweet. Club soda stretches…

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best mojito recipe

Finally! I’ve figured out how to make the perfect homemade mojito. Mojitos are bubbly rum cocktails that taste minty-fresh, citrusy and a little sweet. Club soda stretches out the flavors to create an afternoon-worthy sipper. Mojitos are ultra refreshing on warm days, and I feel like I’m on vacation every time I get my hands on one.

Mojitos originated in Cuba and I hope to taste a real one someday. We enjoyed Cuban-style mojitos in Miami over a long Valentine’s weekend earlier this year. Mojitos happen to be the only cocktail my husband will drink (he’s usually more of a beer and wine guy). I studied the bartenders’ methods while we were there so I could learn how to make them at home.

At Old’s Havana, they lined up highball glasses all the way down the bar, added a generous spoonful of sugar to each, followed by several sprigs of fresh mint (or yerba buena, as they call it). They mixed the mojitos in the glasses by the order, garnishing them with real sugar cane. I swizzled my drink and swayed to the beat of lively Latin string music playing just a few feet away. I honestly don’t know if it was an authentic or manufactured Miami experience, but it was magical nonetheless.

mojito ingredients

Outside of Miami, great mojitos can be hard to come by. Many bars don’t keep fresh mint on hand so they’ll turn down the request, and my own homemade attempts over the years have been lackluster. Now that I’ve studied and practiced my mojito technique, I’m excited to share my mojito recipe with you today!

Turns out, you just need five basic ingredients (mint, lime, sugar, rum and club soda) and a few simple tips to make the best mojito you’ve ever had. You won’t even need a shaker or simple syrup for this classic mojito recipe. Cheers to a long weekend!

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Easy Tomato Salad

We have a surplus of tomatoes this summer, and it’s glorious. I dreamed up this simple tomato salad recipe to make use of the excess. I simply…

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best tomato salad recipe

We have a surplus of tomatoes this summer, and it’s glorious. I dreamed up this simple tomato salad recipe to make use of the excess. I simply sliced ripe tomatoes into bite-sized pieces, then I added some crisp red onion, lots of fresh basil, and drizzled it all with olive oil and good balsamic vinegar.

The end result is so delicious! This salad really lets raw, peak-season tomatoes shine. The recipe is also quite versatile, so you’ll never tire of it. Try adding some cucumber, mozzarella, avocado, arugula or even peaches.

Serve this tomato salad as a fresh, healthy side salad to any summer meal. It’s best when it’s freshly made, so I recommend cutting the recipe in half if you’re not serving a crowd.

tomato salad ingredients

I grew heirloom tomatoes from seed for the first time this spring. It was a fun process that proved easier than expected. In fact, I underestimated how many of the seeds would sprout. I grew so many tomato plants that we filled our family’s three garden plots and passed along the extra to friends.

Strangely enough, our growing tomato plants have provided a sense of continuity and hope during a tumultuous year. I’ll do it all again next spring, but maybe leave some room for more peppers and cucumbers. Or maybe I need a bigger garden plot. I think I’m hooked!

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Elote (Mexican Street Corn)

What is elote? Elote (pronounced eh-loh-tay) is Mexican street corn. If you’ve had it, I bet you love it. If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat!…

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elote recipe

What is elote? Elote (pronounced eh-loh-tay) is Mexican street corn. If you’ve had it, I bet you love it. If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat! Elote tastes sweet and savory, tangy and spicy all at once. I love to make mine with grilled corn for some smokiness, too.

Elote is made with corn on the cob, slathered with mayonnaise, seasoned with chili powder and fresh lime juice, sprinkled all over with salty Cotija cheese and cilantro. It’s messy to eat but worth every bite. Elote is the perfect summertime side dish for any Mexican-inspired meal.

elote ingredients

In Mexico, elote means an ear of corn, and this recipe replicates a popular serving style sold by street vendors. I can’t claim that this elote recipe is quite authentic, but it brings me back to the elotes I enjoyed in Mexico City.

I’m dreaming of traveling throughout Mexico, sampling the cuisine region by region. Someday! For now, we’re making the most of dinner at home.

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Erin’s Peach & Avocado Green Salad

Have you had your fair share of peaches this summer? I certainly have not. I’m remedying that with my friend Erin Clarke’s vibrant peach, avocado and arugula…

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peach avocado green salad

Have you had your fair share of peaches this summer? I certainly have not. I’m remedying that with my friend Erin Clarke’s vibrant peach, avocado and arugula salad. Erin rounds out the flavors with salty gorgonzola cheese, crisp toasted almonds, and a zippy lemon dressing.

This simple summer salad is more than the sum of its parts. It’s a combination I wouldn’t have come up with on my own, and it’s so lovely. I couldn’t stop going back for more.

Perhaps you know Erin from her blog, Well Plated. Erin has been working hard on her first cookbook for several years now, and I’m so excited to share that it’s finally here! The Well Plated Cookbook (affiliate link) offers over 130 fast, healthy recipes you’ll want to eat.

salad ingredients with well plated cookbook

I found this colorful salad on page 116, titled, “Book Club Salad (A Great, Green Party Salad).” Erin’s headnotes are witty, warm and encouraging, just like she is in real life. Here’s what she had to say about this recipe:

“My friend Erika once brought this salad to our monthly book club, and now, five years later, we still won’t let her bring anything else. We refer to it as ‘The Salad,’ and its presence at the table is more mandatory than actually reading the book. This stellar green salad is sized for a crowd, tastes better than any salad I’ve eaten in a restaurant, and is beautiful and adaptable for the seasons…”

She inspired me not only to make ‘The Salad,’ but to join a book club when we’re able to get together again. In the meantime, this salad recipe is easily halved and perfectly suited for any summer dinner.

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The Best Grilled Corn on the Cob

It’s corn season, and I’ve had a hankering for some great corn on the cob. You know the corn I’m talking about—golden and plump kernels with some…

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best grilled corn recipe

It’s corn season, and I’ve had a hankering for some great corn on the cob. You know the corn I’m talking about—golden and plump kernels with some irresistible, caramelized grill marks.

Slathered with real butter and sprinkled with salt, there’s not much better.

corn on the grill

Last summer, our family and friends gifted us a gas grill for our wedding. Now that I finally have access to one, I’ve had fun learning how to use it.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve tried all the corn grilling methods out there and come up with my own. This recipe yields perfect grilled corn on the cob, every time!

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